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New Technologies

New technologies: Intensity pulsed light

Pulsed light is a surface preservation method in which a material is subjected to very short pulses (of the order of milliseconds) of broad-spectrum white light. The spectrum of light is typically between 200 and 1100 nm and includes UV, visible and infrared components. The product is typically exposed to 1-20 pulses having an energy density in the range of 0.01 – 50–2 at the surface.

Potential applications for pulsed light in the food industry include the decontamination of packaging surfaces and of transmissive materials such as water. Applications for food are likely to include surface treatment of relatively short shelf-life products that are susceptible to mould growth such as baked goods. A relatively modest reduction in microbial numbers could offer a significant shelf-life extension for very short-shelf life products.

Trials at Campden BRI have determined that a 1-3 log reduction in total viable counts is typically achievable on food surfaces such as meat, cheese and fruit (R&D 281 Shaw 2009) and similar results have been reported by other groups.

Campden BRI currently has a Claranor pulsed light system on site for research and private contract services. Claranor has had some success in the sale of pulsed light systems for the food industry where their technology is installed for treating packaging such as caps and cups.

Case study: Pulsed light processing

Podcast: Craig Leadley on pulsed light for surface decontamination

R&D 281: pulsed light for surface decontamination

RSS 2009-7: pulsed light for surface decontamination

Bulletins: 36 and 39

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